Bourbonnais Township Park District Unveils New Arboretum Trail for Earth Day

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KANKAKEE, IL – Bourbonnais Township Park District (BTPD) is set to unveil its latest project, the Interpretive Arboretum Trail at Willowhaven Nature Park in Kankakee. 

The trail, which features 25 species of trees native to Illinois, is part of BTPD’s efforts to restore habitat in the park space that was once agricultural land. It will run from Willowhaven Nature Center to an existing parking area near the Dog Park.

The new tree plantings along the trail come with identification tags and an interactive feature to show the benefits of each species. Swamp White Oak Tree and Shawnee Brave Cypress are among the sustainable trees that replaced the once-mowed turf. The focus of the project is to provide pollinators’ habitat and food source for the native species.

In addition to the 2.5 acres of area planted for the Interpretive Arboretum Trail, an additional 10-15 acres within the park can be expanded for wetland, prairie, and woodland restoration. The trail is open to the public daily from dawn to dusk and is accessible for pedestrians and biking access.

BTPD was one of 23 public agencies from northern Illinois to receive an environmental grant from the ComEd Green Region Programs in 2021. The park district received $3,000, which was used to place the finishing touches on Willowhaven.

“We look forward to seeing this grant’s positive impact on our local environment,” said Executive Director Dr. Edward Piatt.

The Interpretive Arboretum Trail is a step forward for BTPD’s efforts to create a sustainable environment in Willowhaven Nature Park. The project is supported by generous funding from ComEd and Openlands and is a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day.

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